Delta Dental of Arizona Lives Its Core Values During COVID-19

Group of health care workers from El Rio in Arizona standing in a group and facing the camera

Often organizations go through the exercise of establishing a list of core values. The executives and board members take up valuable time to discuss, debate, and vote on the core values for the organization. Then the list is sent to all the employees and posted on office walls – then that’s often the end of it.  But the next, and frankly the most difficult, step is to embed the values into the company’s culture. 

Many organizations stop thinking about their core values when the list goes up on the wall. Not Delta Dental of Arizona (Delta Dental). I’ve seen time and again the core values guiding the steps that our executives and staff take in business decisions and in supporting partners and the community. 

 Delta Dental of Arizona Core Values

  • Integrity– Dedicated to high ethical, moral, and professional principles and standards.
  • Respect– Treating others with dignity, respect, honesty, and sensitivity. Appreciating the value of diversity. Encouraging and practicing teamwork and collaboration.
  • Humility– Practicing humility and intellectual honesty. Constantly seek to understand and constructively deal with reality to create value and achieve personal improvement.
  • Social Responsibility– Doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons to benefit the communities we serve.
  • Customer Service– Creating value for our stakeholders by anticipating and responding to their needs and exceeding their expectations.
  • Compliance– Committed to fulfilling all laws, regulations and policies.

During this pandemic, Delta Dental continues to impress me with its efforts to provide assistance to its partners and really, truly honed in on the social responsibility core value. Our leadership looked for opportunities to support a wide variety of stakeholders, including our members, group clients, network dentists and community partners. 

For example, we created a claims advance program to help dentists who followed American Dental Association recommendations to pause all routine and non-emergency dental services in March and April.

In response to the unprecedented challenges Arizona businesses are facing due to COVID-19, we promised no rate increases on group dental and vision renewals through August 1—a move that benefits nearly 650 small to mid-sized businesses and about 9,500 members. We’re also providing more than $3 million in premium relief to more than 2,900 companies across the state.

Perhaps more amazing is the support we’ve given to the community. Delta Dental, through its foundation, distributed a total of $500,000 to all 23 of the federally qualified health centers in the state. These unrestricted grants ranged from $10,000 to the smallest clinics and $50,000 to the largest health center in the state, El Rio Health Center in Tucson, which has 11 locations.

Here’s how some of the health centers are using these funds:

  • A number of the health centers were able to purchase much needed masks, gowns and test kits that were not budgeted for the increased patient load.
  • Native Health in Phoenix was unable to keep up with the increased demand for their food bank and was turning people away. Our donation allowed them to acquire food to support 2600 people for 2 months.
  • Mountain Park Health Center purchased unbudgeted telemedicine technology and equipment, which now allows them to see 1,000 patients a day.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stay-at-home order put in place by Governor Ducey was having a great impact on Arizona’s homeless population, as shelters and facilities had to accept fewer people to accommodate social distancing. Where does someone shelter in place without a shelter? Officials at the State of Arizona worked to provide more shelter, hygiene, and food options for the over 30,000 homeless across Arizona. Delta Dental stepped up again, donating 30,000 toothbrushes and 30,000 tubes of toothpaste to homeless shelters and organizations serving these vulnerable populations to help with hygiene.

Delta Dental of Arizona and its foundation have the same mission: to improve lives by promoting optimal oral health. But sometimes, it’s not just about oral health. It’s about doing the right thing at the right time, which says a lot about our organization – and I’ve never been prouder of the good work our boards of directors, executives and associates are doing. Social responsibility goes far beyond words on a wall at Delta Dental.

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